Featured Image Credit: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/
By Kira Krall
State-licensed wildlife rescuer Daniel Drake got a call about a massive lizard in distress in Plantation, Florida. A six-foot-long green iguana had darts sticking out of its body. Upon closer inspection, Drake discovered that the darts were actually ammo from a crossbow. Click here to watch a clip of the procedure.
Green Iguanas are one of 50 exotic reptiles reported in Florida since the 1930s. These species range from the occasional sighted individual to established and invasive breeding populations. The green iguana generally does well in the warmest parts of South Florida. Its large size, flexible herbivorous diet, and swimming ability pack a triple-whammy when it comes to eating and defending itself.
Unfortunately, they’re typically unbothered by the hum of human activity and can succeed in an urban environment. Pool decks in thriving population centers are typically seen covered in iguana poop, and the tasty leaves of our carefully tended gardens don’t stand a chance against these jolly green giants.
Certain exotic reptiles like the green iguana can be humanely euthanized with no permit because of their more destructive tendencies. However, they are still protected by anti-cruelty laws. This blatant crossbow attack on the six-foot creature broke those laws.
Drake along with the South Florida Wildlife Center was able to catch the green iguana after the beastie evaded their efforts for hours, despite having 5 darts embedded in its body. The surgery went well and staff monitored the individual post-surgery. The Center reported that over 200 iguanas were checked in last year. Most of the reasons for their visit were because of car strikes, dog attacks, and unpleasant run-ins with fences.